Motivation in Distributed Teams

Motivation in Distributed Teams - Abstract

Motivated by a decline in overhead costs and the ability to hire the best talent, embracing remote workers is a praiseworthy investment. However, keeping a distributed team motivated and happy can be challenging. Working with remote team’s offers you many benefits but it never comes without challenges. Key towards success to cope these challenges is ability to motivate remote teams. The exquisite signs that let a manager understand that an employee is stressed, tired or unengaged are harder to see when you only have the chance to talk to your team on the phone or video-call. You have less prospects to get to identify your team well and determine what is significant to them. You can do this by adopting some techniques. [1]

[1] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017

Prithwiraj Choudhury says, who co-authored the paper, (Live and) Work from Anywhere: Geographic Flexibility and Productivity Effects at the United States Patent Office , with HBS doctoral student Cirrus Foroughi and Barbara Larson, executive professor of management at Northeastern University.

“While prior academic research has studied productivity effects of ‘working from home’ that gives workers temporal flexibility, ‘work from anywhere’ goes a step further and provides both temporal and geographic flexibility,” [1]

[1] PRITHWIRAJ CHOUDHURY, (Live and) Work from Anywhere: Geographic Flexibility and Productivity Effects at the United States Patent Office, 2019
“For the vast majority of such employers, remote work is a win-win, because the employee can move to a location of choice and save money in cost of living, and the employer will see higher productivity and lower attrition, and save on real estate costs,”[1]

Foster a Remote-First Culture

A distributed team can perform best if they are provided with the same culture as delivered to office employees. Communication is an important tool in this regard. We can lesson communication gaps through company meetings, conferences and activities in the same way as an employee does in office. Kohlenberger said about it.[1]


“We need to get everyone involved and make them feel like they are part of the larger organization. We can’t afford to forget about the people working in the field.” [2]


Miscommunication can cause a trouble between employees if they are not given permission to participate in an important decision. Communication can bridge gaps between distributed teams if they are given rights to participate in decision making through meetings.[3]

It is also vital to make them updated about directions and decisions of company. Timely feedback and appreciation adds more strength. Furthermore they should engaged as if they are working in an office. As a result, they will perform their best to make a company successful. In this way they will realize that they are important to their company as well. Team members can directly communicate with each other for feedback and questions without having to go through multiple people and processes. [4]  [5]


A structure must be developed to strengthen relationship between employees and company. Moreover they should be invited on a business cooperate visit. This relationship can be made soothed by offering them a coffee or a drink and by having a friendly conversation. In this way, they feel comfortable to work further on.[6]


There are introverts and extroverts, simple and sophisticated projects and many other factors to take into account. Nevertheless, the project success is possible when everyone keeps the boat afloat. It took us years to build a strong engineering culture against emotional burn-out and professional boredom. Guided by “A happy employee is a happy customer and vice-versa,” we have been successful so far in making great strides together with our clients. We did manage to retain teams for long-term remote projects and avoid frustration during onboarding for new ones. It’s always a special pride and honor to receive references and see a big thank you on the wall of our testimonials. And, there’s no stronger motivation to continue rocking than when you hear “Hey guys, you are the best!”[7]


[1] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017
[2] Hirsch, Arlene S., How to Manage Remote Teams Effectively, February 27, 2017
[3] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017
[4] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017
[5] Maria Tsarouva, itechart,Oct 18, 2019
[6] Shane Barker, Four Ways To Keep Your Remote Team Happy And Motivated, Jun 26, 2018
[7] Maria Tsarouva, itechart,Oct 18, 2019

Establish a Path for Career Growth

It is a common dream of many persons to be moved on a higher position while doing job such as to be promoted on a management position. Conventionally a remote team has less access to their top management team in order to be moved on a higher position as done by employees in offices. In this regard, an organization should develop a proper structure.[1] In this structure, they should have conduct an event to distribute prizes, ranks and bonuses based on performances. These rewards, incentives and bounces may include career advances and certification of distant training as well. In this way, a remote employee would be able to be promoted on a higher level.[2]  [3]


[1] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017

[2] Maria Tsarouva, itechart,Oct 18, 2019

[3] John Rampton

Keep Day-to-Day Tasks Engaging

In order to have a completion of a specific work, a remote manager should have certainty that if a remote team finds it comfortably completed. Everyone wants to have a work of their interest, it is no exception in the case of remote workers. They should have assigned a work of their interest. Furthermore, they are to be given tools and professional needs. [1]


In this way, a remote team finds it a challenge to have done with the work of their interest. If they are guided properly with regard to their jobs, they will have better results. Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound that will make them feel motivated. Ultimately they will have a view that they are not working randomly.[2]


“With remarkable consistency, the data confirmed that communication indeed plays a critical role in building successful teams. In fact, we’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success.”[3]


[1] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017

[2] Maria Tsarouva, itechart,Oct 18, 2019

[3] Natasha Doshi, itechart,7th May 2016

Bring the Distributed Team Together

In a nutshell, Digital collaboration is the bread and butter of remote teams but an opportunity for the distributed team to get together physically once in a while is important. A social interacting could be very important to have a lucid image of a person. It will be helpful to have a better professional relationship between a remote team and management team. It should not be neglected because remote workers are a very crucial part of a company.[1] [2]


“In our view, the unique challenges of managing a distributed team can incentivize the creation of a stronger culture than those that operate face-to-face”[3]


[1] DEREK CHOY, Motivating a Distributed Team, JULY 13, 2017

[2] Maria Tsarouva, itechart,Oct 18, 2019

[3] MARK BOSMA, Pg 1

Motivation distributed teams _ Pic Landscape

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